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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Vouchers dealt new blow



School vouchers are still dead in Florida.

A committee of the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission on Monday defeated a proposal to ask voters to enshrine vouchers in the state Constitution. The nation's only statewide voucher program, initiated by former Gov. Jeb Bush and lawmakers in 1999, was struck down as an unconstitutional diversion of tax dollars by the Florida Supreme Court in 2006.

Tax commission member Bobby Martinex, a Coral Gables lawyer, sponsored the new proposal, saying that he wasn't criticizing the court, but that Florida voters have never had the opportunity to speak on the issue. The Government Services Committee killed the proposal, led by opposition from lawyer Martha Barnett, former Democratic Sen. Les Miller, Pinellas teacher union leader Jade Moore and former GOP Senate President Jim Scott.

Ron Meyer of the Florida Education Association, the union whose lawsuit succeeded in getting vouchers struck down, had urged a no vote, telling the panel: "We think this is a solution in search of a problem." Meyer also said the tax commission was "not the proper venue to engage in a shift of education policy" in Florida.    

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:12pm]


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